If you need evidence that a second assist can be the greatest part of a goal every now and then, New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh’s beautiful move from Sunday might just be Exhibit A:
(You’d almost think that Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas would be at risk of suffering another lower-body injury merely trying to defend that.)
J.T. Miller scored the goal and made a nice play of his own to really get things started while Chris Kreider got the primary helper with a brilliant pass of his own.
Conventional wisdom argues that you’d rest a 39-year-old during one of back-to-back games coming off an injury. That being said, how often does conventional wisdom apply to Tim Thomas?
The Florida Panthers decided to give the unorthodox another start on Sunday, so he’ll play against the New York Rangers instead of Scott Clemmensen on Sunday.
Thomas made his return to the Panthers’ lineup on Saturday, allowing three goals on 32 shots in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. He told the Miami Herald that he felt better as he went along yesterday.
Thomas is 2-4-0 with a .905 save percentage and 3.10 GAA in seven games played so far in a roller coaster start to 2013-14.
Tim Thomas’ return to the Florida Panthers net meant either Scott Clemmensen or Jacob Markstrom was going to be headed to the minor leagues. This time around, youth doesn’t prevail.
The Panthers sent Markstrom back to AHL San Antonio and for the 23-year-old Swede it may be a blessing in disguise.
This season, he’s had a rough go of it going 1-5-3 with a 3.36 goals-against average and a .877 save percentage, all of which are the worst or tied for worst on the team. Clemmensen hasn’t been much better than that this year, but if the Panthers are committed to having their young guys lead the team in the future, getting Markstrom back on his game is necessary.
Markstrom was the Panthers’ second-round pick back in 2008, 31st overall, and he’s a player they’ve been very high on ever since.
The Florida Panthers finally have some good news.
John Shannon of Sportsnet reports the Panthers are taking goalie Tim Thomas off of injured reserve and will get the start in their game this afternoon against the Ottawa Senators.
Thomas has been out since October 22 with a lower-body injury. Since he’s been hurt, the Panthers have lost six games in a row including games to the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers. Thomas’ absence also coincided with the firing of former coach Kevin Dineen. In all, the team has lost seven straight.
While Thomas’ numbers haven’t been great this year (2-3-0 record, .905 SV%, 3.11 GAA) he’s been the most consistent goalie the Panthers have had all season compared to Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen.
Interim head coach Peter Horachek hopes Thomas’ return can help turn things around on South Beach.
Just a couple of days ago, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon held a late-night meeting following Florida’s 4-3 overtime loss to Edmonton and decided that head coach Kevin Dineen wouldn’t be fired — yet.
One bad loss later and Dineen has been shown the door along with assistants Craig Ramsay and Gord Murphy, according to the Miami Herald and NHL.com.
“After 16 games it was clear that our team needed a change in philosophy and direction,” said Tallon.
“We have not met the expectations that we set forth at training camp and it is my responsibility to make the necessary changes to ensure that our club performs at its maximum potential.”
Peter Horachek is coming up from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage to serve as the interim head coach. He previously worked with the Nashville Predators as an assistant and then associate head coach. It’s worth adding that the Rampage are currently the second-worst team in the AHL Western Conference with a 4-6-1 record.
Dineen spent parts of three seasons with Florida and had a 56-62-28 record. The Panthers finished 30th in the NHL last season, but added some veterans to the mix for the 2013-14 campaign, including forwards Scott Gomez and Brad Boyes and goaltender Tim Thomas. At the same time, they have a young and still-developing core.
Following the Panthers’ 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins last night, there was a players only meeting that involved a lot of “yelling and cursing.” That underscores the frustration this team is experiencing after going seven straight games without a win.
The 3-9-4 Panthers will attempt to end that streak on Saturday against Ottawa.